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Security & privacy

Protect your wireless account from hackers with this one step

Targeting large groups of people through phishing or email spam is a typical way cybercriminals make money. But some step it up a notch and go after large databases containing millions of user records.

In the last decade, plenty of companies have fallen victim to meticulously planned attacks. Hackers sometimes get access to millions of personal information files. They use the stolen data to rip people off by committing identity fraud and numerous other nefarious acts.

T-Mobile recently suffered such a data breach. The mobile service provider’s own investigation revealed that as many as 48 million customer records were pilfered. Now, while strongly being denied, there are rumors that AT&T was also breached.

Here’s the backstory

According to the online privacy advocating group Restore Privacy, a well-known hacker is selling the data of over 70 million AT&T customers. Going by the name ShinyHunters, the hacker claims to have breached the company’s servers. As proof, he posted a small snippet of evidence.

Restore Privacy independently verified the data sample is, in fact, legitimate information from AT&T customers. Data includes names, phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. This is all the information a scammer needs to commit identity fraud.

How to protect yourself

Full disclosure, T-Mobile is a sponsor of The Kim Komando Show. The company reset its customers’ PINs after reports of the recent data breach. But no matter which mobile provider you have, it’s a good idea to secure your account with a PIN code. Here’s how.

For AT&T:

  • Go to myAT&T and enter your ID and password.
  • Select Get a new passcode on the Confirm passcode page.
  • Follow the prompts.

For T-Mobile:

  • Log in to My T-Mobile.
  • In the top right corner, click the My Account drop down.
  • Select Profile, then click the T-Mobile ID section.
  • T-Mobile’s systems will attempt to confirm your identity using two-factor authentication methods. Select your preferred method, then click Continue.
  • In the PIN/Passcode section, click Edit.
  • Enter the PIN/Passcode. Re-enter to confirm.
  • Click Save. You will be sent a text confirming the PIN/Passcode update request.

For Verizon:

  • Log in to Verizon.
  • Click on Account, then Account settings > Security settings.
  • Look for Account PIN and select Edit.
  • Create the custom PIN, then confirm it and click Save Changes.

Since cybercriminals seem to be targeting mobile providers and their customers, it’s important to have a PIN protecting your account. If you don’t have one, make sure to set one up ASAP. Don’t forget to share this article with friends and family so they can protect their mobile accounts.

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